Does your child struggle with attention deficits or anxiety that challenges his/her success in school?
Neurofeedback could help!
Fulfilled Life Counseling makes change easier with science. We offer to provide neurofeedback assessment and training and biofeedback training to Invest Collegiate Imagine students on campus. This is a fee-for-service offering for families with the convenience of having neurofeedback at school rather than needing transportation to an after-school appointment.
Neurofeedback is an effective non-invasive way of training your brain to work more efficiently without medication. Brains are plastic which means they can change when given feedback in response to the EEG (a measure of electrical activity in the brain). Brains also change based on any task that you repeatedly practice (like learning to play piano). Neurofeedback is similar to a game of hot & cold; the computer software encourages or discourages certain brainwave frequencies with audio/visual feedback. Some frequencies are better suited for doing physics homework, others for being creative, others for falling asleep. When your brain is producing inappropriate frequencies for the task, focus can feel slippery. And when your nervous system is either hyper-alert or too sluggish, then you aren’t functioning optimally. With a regulated nervous system, you can choose where to place your attention instead of being pulled around constantly by your environment or by your internal storytelling. Neurofeedback is all about helping your brain and your nervous system have an appropriate level of activity for a given task.
What does neurofeedback help with?
Symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, depression and sleep problems (among many things) have been successfully relieved with neurofeedback. It is also used for performance enhancement by athletes and musicians. Neurofeedback is used neither for diagnosis nor specific treatment of disorders (as a medication would be). It is brain training in that your brain is provided the opportunity to learn a more efficient way of functioning. It is more like a yoga class for your brain with long-lasting results.
What to expect from a neurofeedback session?
When a client sits down for a brain training session, typically one or two sensors are attached to the scalp with a dot of washable paste and one or two sensors are clipped on the ears. This generates an EEG to which the computer responds. The client then watches a simple video game or a movie (we use Planet Earth) and receives visual feedback as well as audio feedback through headphones. Visual reward is the movie becoming brighter or the game going faster/earning more points. Audio reward is simply hearing beeps when the brain is making the electricity we are asking it to. The computer software is programmed for the individual client to encourage some electrical frequencies and discourage others. The client watches the computer screen for up to 15-20 minutes.
How many times do you need to do it?
Typically, clients receive 20-50 sessions of neurofeedback in order to benefit from the training since it is a subconscious learning process and not instantaneous. It is best to do two training sessions per week for optimal progress and consistency.
Megan Hearne received her neurofeedback training through the Institute for Applied Neuroscience and EEG Education and Research. She receives professional supervision from Mary Ammerman, PsyD, BCN. Megan is partners with Hayes Paden, MA, LPC at Fulfilled Life Counseling.
Biofeedback helps people learn how to change their breathing and heart rhythm to achieve physiological coherence. Heart signals have a significant impact on brain function – influencing emotional processing and higher cognition. A healthy heart rate has variability and is therefore resilient and flexible to meet changing demands. The normal variability in heart rate is due to the balance of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system—the sympathetic (fight/flight – faster heart rate) and parasympathetic (rest/digest – slower heart rate). These need to be in balance so you’re not operating as though your foot is only on the gas or only on the brake (or worse, on both pedals at once!)
It is possible to learn to improve your heart rate variability and bring it into coherence with your breathing and emotional state. This biofeedback tool is easy to use and requires only 10 minutes of practice per session. The client simply puts on an ear clip and watches a computer screen for visual feedback about the coherence of their heart rate, emotions, and breathing.
How much does it cost?
Sessions are 30 minutes long, are individualized, and include both biofeedback and neurofeedback. Each session costs $75. We recommend an initial assessment meeting, then 20 training sessions (with 2 sessions per week) and a final meeting to quantify progress. 3 information/progress letters to each student’s parents will be sent; at the beginning of training, after ten training sessions, and at the conclusion of training. For these 22 appointments on the ICI campus we would charge $1,650. We would accept payment by either (1) automatic debit on weekly basis, or (2) as a single up-front payment of $1,575 (this reflects one free session/a $75 discount for full payment). We do not accept insurance since neurofeedback is not typically covered. However, we can provide a super-bill for families to seek out-of-network benefits.
Professional endorsements for neurofeedback
American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed neurofeedback in 2012 as a “Level 1 Best Support Intervention” for attention and hyperactivity behavioral problems.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry endorsed neurofeedback (aka EEG biofeedback) in 2005 as meeting the clinical treatment criteria for ADHD, anxiety (PTSD, GAD, OCD, phobias), depression, reading disabilities, addiction disorders, and seizure disorders.
In-School Neurofeedback Training for ADHD: Sustained Improvements From a Randomized Control Trial. 2014. This study of 100 children by Steiner, et al., showed significantly better and more sustained improvements in behavior for the kids who received neurofeedback than the kids who received cognitive therapy exercises.